At The Gates - The Globe, Cardiff
First up on a night of sheer brutality was Stockholm outfit Morbus Chron. The band have been in existence for seven years and create a formidable noise. An amalgamation of old school death metal and the more melodic groove of the progressive death scene, the band powered through a short set with aplomb. Musically they were tight, with plenty of riffs and hooks to get you interested whilst vocally Robert Andersson (according to their FB page anyway) has a tried and tested death growl approach. A decent reception was afforded from the relatively healthy but not sold out crowd (shame on you, Cardiff). 6/10
The opportunity to see Thomas Gabriel Fischer in the dry and in my home City meant I was always buying a ticket and was as much as a draw for me as the headliners. I have a long affection for Fischer’s (or Warrior’s) work, dating back to the early Celtic Frost days and I hold fond memories of seeing them in the long defunct Top Rank Club in the mid-1980s. I've already reviewed Triptykon this year in the live arena at BOA and on record with their excellent Melana Chasmata release earlier this year. The band battled with an appallingly fuzzy sound (which Fischer painfully acknowledged) to deliver one of the heaviest slabs of metal The Globe will have ever witnessed. Opening with Goeita from Eparistera Daimones, the room was filled with that unique skull crushing doom laden mid-paced delivery that has been the hall mark of all of Fischer’s bands. Altar Of Deceit followed, surprisingly the only track from Melana Chasmata with the huge bass sound of Vanja Slajh combining with the furious percussion of Norman Lonhard. A real treat followed with a double Celtic Frost serving; the mosh inducing Circle Of The Tyrants which got the room moving in earnest followed by The Usurper with Fischer and V. Santura combining brutal riffs with sledgehammer intensity. The final song, The Prolonging from Eparistera Daimones closed the set, albeit in a slightly extended manner. Few bands close out a five set song with a 20 minute track but this is Triptykon. Throughout the set, Fischer was engaging in his interaction with the audience and it was a pleasure to see the band and the great man in such close confines. What the hell he must have made of it all I’m not sure. 7/10
At The Gates
At War With Reality, ATG's first release for the best part of 20 years ensured that Gothenburg's death metal legends put themselves firmly back in the shop window for this tour. However, nothing could prepare for the onslaught that hit the crowd. Hitting the stage to the strains of El Altar, the band blasted into Death And The Labyrinth from At War... at full steam, pits kicking off immediately. However, any band that hits track two with Slaughter Of The Soul has serious confidence in their set list. Pulverising guitar work from Anders Björler and Martin Larsson combined with Jonas Björler’s cement mixer heavy basslines and the breathtakingly fast drumming of Adrian Erlandsson provided a captivating spectacle throughout the hour and a half show. Vocalist Tomas Lindberg delivers whether his is playing to 300 people or 3000 (This band sold out the Forum in London with ease).
A liberal dose of stuff from the new album, seven in all, was interspersed with several classics from Slaughter Of The Soul as well as a representation from their other three releases. Cold, Nausea and Under A Serpent Sun received fanatical responses whilst many of the crowd were just as familiar with some of the new stuff, such as the title track and The Book Of Sand. ATG deliver with a high degree of intensity, Lindberg urging the crowd to give as much as the band, whilst the band continue to layer slab after slab of melodic death. Closing with Blinded By Fear, Kingdom Gone and The Night Eternal, ATG demonstrated why they are revered and remain one of the metal legends in the death arena. 8/10
The only shame was that there were so few there to witness it. As a metal City, Cardiff may be able to see out Slipknot at the MIA but this is where it’s at and the South Wales metal community rarely delivers. Get into the smaller gigs, see the band really close up and have an awesome time.